National History and the World of Nations: Capital, State, and the Rhetoric of History in Japan, France, and the United States

National History and the World of Nations

Capital, State, and the Rhetoric of History in Japan, France, and the United States
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
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Number of Volumes: Trade Paperback
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No. of pages:368 pages
Size:235x156 mm
Weight:531 g
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Focusing on Japan, France, and the United States, Christopher L. Hill reveals how the writing of national history in the late nineteenth century made the reshaping of the world by capitalism and the nation-state seem natural and inevitable. The three countries, occupying widely different positions in the world, faced similar ideological challenges stemming from the rapidly changing geopolitical order and from domestic political upheavals: the Meiji Restoration in Japan, the Civil War in the United States, and the establishment of the Third Republic in France. Through analysis that is both comparative and transnational, Hill shows that the representations of national history that emerged in response to these changes reflected rhetorical and narrative strategies shared across the globe.

Delving into narrative histories, prose fiction, and social philosophy, Hill analyzes the rhetoric, narrative form, and intellectual genealogy of late-nineteenth-century texts that contributed to the creation of national history in each of the three countries. He discusses the global political economy of the era, the positions of the three countries in it, and the reasons that arguments about history loomed large in debates on political, economic, and social problems. Examining how the writing of national histories in the three countries addressed political transformations and the place of the nation in the world, Hill illuminates the ideological labor national history performed. Its production not only naturalized the division of the world by systems of states and markets, but also asserted the inevitability of the nationalization of human community; displaced dissent to pre-modern, pre-national pasts; and presented the subject’s acceptance of a national identity as an unavoidable part of the passage from youth to adulthood.

National History and the World of Nations is an important book. I know few in globalization studies who have managed to articulate so complex and clear a framework for the analysis of the possible global determinants of specific cultures’ narrative texts. This book will be read as much for its methodological interest as for its holdings about nationalism.”—Frederick Buell, author of National Culture and the New Global System
Table of Contents:
Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

1. National History and the Shape of the Nineteenth-Century World 1

Part I. Spaces of History

2. Liberal Social Imaginaries and the Interiority of History 47

3. The Nationality of Expansion 82

4. Decline, Renewal, and the Rhetoric of Will 119

Part II. Times of Crisis

5. The Rupture of Meiji and the New Japan 155

6. Americanization and Historical Consciousness 194

7. French Revolution, Third Republic 233

Conclusion: National History and Other Worlds 269

Notes 283

Bibliography 309

Index 329